Two men sentenced in 2022 crash deaths

May 15—GOSHEN — A man who killed a Goshen couple while driving drunk was sentenced by a plea deal nearly two years after the crash.

Joshua Martinez, 22, was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison in Elkhart County Circuit Court on Wednesday for the deaths of Craig and Leslie Coffman on June 10, 2022.

Several people including their daughters, Anna and Lillian, spoke at the sentencing.

"I'm under no delusion, nothing that I do is going to bring peace to either one of those families," Elkhart County Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno said. He spoke to the daughters of the Coffmans, and to Martinez himself. "Lillian and Anna, I hope today brings you some closure; that will be entirely up to you. Mr. Martinez, today is going to bring you closure in one way; the sentence will be pronounced."

Ahead of his sentencing, Martinez told the family he was sorry.

"No words will ever bring healing to them," Martinez said. "I take full responsibility for the actions that I did that day."

Martinez had pleaded guilty to the charge in the death of Leslie, 44, and Craig Coffman, 48, both of Goshen, during a February 2023 hearing but later attempted to change the plea agreement, resulting in the reinstatement of the original not-guilty plea.

In February of that year, Martinez admitted to the court that he had four 12-ounce beers prior to getting in his vehicle on June 10, 2022. The probable cause affidavit shows he tested .177 alcohol concentration.

According to the police report, at 11:44 p.m. Martinez was driving a car at a high rate of speed eastbound on Pike Street when it collided with a vehicle driven by Craig Coffman. The Coffman vehicle was southbound on Third Street. Martinez's vehicle also collided with another vehicle driven by Katie Jones of Battle Creek, Michigan, police reported. Jones' vehicle went over the curb and broke a fire hydrant.

Coffman's wife, Leslie, died in the crash. Coffman was flown to South Bend Memorial Hospital and died June 25 at home from injuries received from the crash. His daughters attempted to revive him.

Anna said during sentencing that around 3 a.m. her sister woke her up saying that their dad was struggling to breathe and was emotional when she went to give him his medications.

"She said that she calmed him down, gave him his meds, and got him back to sleep," Anna recalled. He was listening to the couple's favorite song. "She told me that she was really worried and wanted to pray for him, so we prayed for peace. Little did we know, the peace that he would receive.

"Anna went to give him medications at 6 a.m. and found him on the floor struggling and he told her to call 911. He died before medics arrived and by the time their grandparents arrived, they had just announced the time of death.

"Two little girls should never have to care for their dad like that, and then after he dies, they should not have to wrestle with the idea that they were the reason he did," Anna said. "Since that day our lives have always felt like we are in a constant state of crisis and fear."

The trauma also impacted their dogs, one of whom had to be put down after he'd become aggressive without them. The same day the girls attended Lillian's senior orientation. They had to sell the house, give away the other dog, and Lillian had to live with a host family. Lillian said most of their belongings were sold because they needed the money. She had to get car insurance and buy her car herself and join assistance programs. Anna eventually had to quit college.

"You don't realize how much a child/young adult relies on their parents until they are gone," Anna said. "I'm talking about having a home to rely on and fall back on, I'm talking about a mom to talk about boys, breakups, girl problems, sister fights, whatever the future holds. Weddings? No daddy-daughter dance, no father to hold my hand down the aisle, and no dad to ask the hard questions to or call when my car breaks down or when I'm stressed and confused in my faith."

Lillian also spoke.

"Every day I think about my parents, and it's getting harder and harder to remember what they looked like, what they sounded like," she said. " I rewatch videos and look at pictures, but all I feel is suffering. Every day since they died feels like a nightmare, a nightmare that I can't escape from because it's my reality."

The trial date was originally scheduled for May 13, 2024, to accommodate the couple's daughters who were away at college. A new plea agreement was filed in April for two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more, both Level 4 felonies.

Defense attorney Peter Britton told the court that Martinez is not like many other people who come through the court for crimes resulting in death.

"It's not just the 20 months or so since this event occurred that he's lived an otherwise good life," he said. "He has no criminal history, no involvement whatsoever with law enforcement. He doesn't use drugs and just started drinking because he had just turned 21. ... Never once did he think, or plan, or want anything like this to happen. We as adults understand that everything in life has consequences yet we made decision after decision after decisions almost habitually without even realizing we're making those decisions, but most of us have lived enough life to catch ourselves before the decisions culminate in something that is catastrophic."

"I agree with Mr. Britton when he says every one of these cases is unique and has facts and circumstances that only relate to that case," Christofeno said, adding that he didn't agree with witnesses and supporters that it wasn't a murder, but he understood why they felt that way.

Christofeno noted that Martinez had around double the amount of the legal limit in his system, was speeding in excess of 90 mph as compared to the 30 mph speed limit, disregarded the traffic signal, and was Facetiming his girlfriend at the time of the crash.

"This was a totally irresponsible and senseless combination of acts on your part," Christofeno said.

Martinez was sentenced on two consecutive counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more, both Level 4 felonies, to 11 years with one suspended on reporting probation, for a total of 20 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections and two years suspended on reporting probation.


Raudel Nunez, 24, was sentenced on Wednesday in Elkhart County Circuit Court to a total of 9 years to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections for a crash that resulted in the death of Pedro Batres Beltran, 48, on April 1, 2022.

Deputies responded to the crash at U.S. 33 and C.R. 146 between a GMC Sierra and a Chevy Cobalt. A witness told police that the Sierra, driven by Nunez, had passed him in a no-passing zone at a high rate of speed while traveling uphill northbound before it crashed into the Cobalt going the opposite direction.

The driver of the Cobalt, Batres Beltran, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Sierra, according to police, attempted to identify under a different name but was eventually determined to be Nunez, who submitted to a blood draw which showed the presence of delta-9 carboxy THC, a metabolite of marijuana, and benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

Nunez was charged with causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance, a Level 4 felony; and false informing, a Class B misdemeanor.

"It haunts me and haunts my family because I'm not there for my loved ones or my daughter and things like that and the more than I sit here and think about it, I do take full accountability for my actions, and I feel really sorry for what happened that night and I wish none of it had happened because he, like I, have a family and I know that he is very well missed," Nunez said ahead of sentencing. "There is no going back. I know that there is no going back."

He also apologized and asked for forgiveness from the family time in Spanish so they could all understand his comments after his initial comments to the court.

Christofeno sentenced Nunez to Count 1, causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a Schedule I or II controlled substance, a Level 4 felony, 12 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections with three years suspended on reporting probation.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.